When stay-at-home orders became necessary due to the pandemic, one of Springfield’s economic drivers took a tumble. In a span of days, dozens of conventions, amateur sports events and other group events that were scheduled to take place in Springfield were canceled. The economic impact they would have had disappeared in the blink of an eye.
The meeting industry is something most people overlook when they think of travel and tourism. How do meetings bring in money? Our third day of National Travel & Tourism Week, we’ll explain just that. Just in Springfield alone, the more than 100,000 people who were scheduled to attend those events were expected to spend more than $21 million in the city, and that’s just the groups that were working with the CVB. Many others that didn’t have a CVB connection were also canceled. Only a few of the canceled events have been rescheduled.
The result is hotel occupancy rates plummeted, meeting venues shuttered and restaurants that would have been staffing up for all those visitors had to lay off hundreds of employees.
Springfield, of course, isn’t the only city suffering. Stay-home orders have been issued around the country and the impact on travel is tremendous. The US Travel Association reports travel for meetings, events and incentives account for $139.3 billion of business travel spending in the United States, generating $23.1 billion in taxes and creating 1.1 million jobs annually. Much of that revenue is gone.
When this crisis is over, we urge you to help our local economy recover. When your business has a meeting of any size, we urge you to conduct them in Springfield at one of the many convention and meeting spaces available in the city. If you’re a member of an organization that hosts a convention, work to get that convention in Springfield.
The city has plenty of meeting facilities and hotels to serve groups large and small, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau provides a variety of free services to help schedule and plan the event. Check out the meetings section of our website at https://www.springfieldmo.org/meetings for information about CVB services. You’ll find a meeting planners’ toolkit, a meeting planners’ guide and everything else you need to get started.
We’ve got tons of giveaways going on this week.
- Send a postcard to a loved one for a chance to win one of five $100 gift cards to Bass Pro.
- Participate in our auction to help raise money for the Mother's Industry Support Fund — a partnership between Mother's Brewing Company and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks designed to help hospitality workers in Springfield. Purchase items such as tickets to attractions around Springfield, merchandise, hotel stays and more. Check out what's available!